Realized Benefits and Costs

Options Benefits and Costs

Knowledge Benefits and Costs

Economic benefits and costs




Environmental benefits and costs




Security benefits and costs




FIGURE ES-1 Matrix for assessing benefits and costs.

  • Environmental net benefits are based on changes in the quality of the environment that have occurred or may occur as a result of a new technology RD&D program.

  • Security net benefits are based on changes in the probability or severity of abnormal energy-related events that would adversely impact the overall economy, public health and safety, or the environment.

The three columns in the matrix are the first step toward a more explicit definition of the benefits to be included. They reflect different degrees of uncertainty about whether a given benefit will be obtained. Two fundamental sources of uncertainty are particularly important—technological uncertainties and uncertainties about economic and policy conditions (Figure ES-2). Rather than attempting to fully characterize the uncertainty of benefits, the committee used these two distinctions—the state of technology development and the favorability of economic and policy conditions—to define the columns of the matrix (Figure ES-1). The first column, “realized benefits and costs,” is reserved for benefits that are almost certain—that is, those for which the technology is developed and for which the economic and policy conditions are favorable for commercialization of the technology. The second column, which includes less certain benefits, is called “options benefits and costs.” These consist of benefits that might be derived from technologies that are fully developed but for which economic and policy conditions are not likely to be, but might become, favorable for commercialization. All other benefits, to the extent they exist, are called “knowledge benefits and costs.” The framework recognizes that the technologies being evaluated may be in different stages of the RD&D cycle, and by its nature, it represents a snapshot in time, with a focus on outcomes of the work performed.

To arrive at entries for the cells of the matrix, a logical and consistent set of rules for measuring the results of the individual initiatives is also necessary. These rules define more exactly the meanings of the rows and columns, and they provide a calculus for measuring the values to be entered in each of the cells.

Case Studies

To assess the benefits of the energy efficiency and fossil energy programs within this evaluation framework, the com-

Economic/Policy Conditions\Technology Development

Technology Developed

Technology Development in Progress

Technology Development Failed

Will be favorable for commercialization

Realized benefits

Knowledge benefits

Knowledge benefits

Might become favorable for commercialization

Options benefits

Knowledge benefits

Knowledge benefits

Will not become favorable for commercialization

Knowledge benefits

Knowledge benefits

Knowledge benefits

FIGURE ES-2 Derivation of columns for the benefits matrix.

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